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Fri Nov 27, 2015, 04:39 PM


Weekend Economists Debate: Which Came First? The Incredible, Edible Egg November 27-29, 2015

Speaking logically, the change from dinosaur to bird must have occurred in stages as the DNA recombined and different switches were triggered in each generation of eggs. I get a kick out of thinking that chickens are the descendants of dinosaurs...in fact, if one considers how much of the bush meat "tastes like chicken" then aside from mammals, fish and shellfish, everything else is dinosaur-derived.

Specifically, the chicken is traced back to Tyrannosaurus Rex, the great predator.


Researchers revealed yesterday how they analysed molecules from a fossilised T-rex bone – and found close links between the King of the Dinosaurs and the modern farmyard fowl. Experts managed to extract tissue from the 68 million-year-old bone. They then used a sophisticated technique called mass spectroscopy to compare T-rex’s collagen with dozens of bird and animal species. The study showed that at the molecular level, T-rex was much more like a chicken or ostrich than a modern alligator or lizard.

Expert Dr John Asara said: “We determined that T-rex grouped with birds – ostrich and chicken – better than any other organism that we studied.

“We also showed that it groups better with birds than modern reptiles such as alligators and lizards.”

More research will be needed to confirm the findings. But the study – carried out at America’s Harvard University and published in the journal Science – adds new weight to the theory that some dinosaurs evolved into birds. Evolutionary biologist Dr Chris Organ, who led the study, said: “We were able to establish these relationships with a relatively high degree of support.”

Dr Organ’s team also carried out a similar analysis of protein taken from the fossilised bone of a mastodon that died at least 160,000 years ago. That study showed close similarities between the extinct mastodon and modern elephants.

T. Rex Related to Chickens April 12, 2007


An adolescent female Tyrannosaurus rex died 68 million years ago, but its bones still contain intact soft tissue, including the oldest preserved proteins ever found, scientists say.

And a comparison of the protein's chemical structure to a slew of other species showed an evolutionary link between T. rex and chickens, bolstering the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

The collagen proteins were found hidden inside the leg bone of the T. rex fossil, according to two studies published in the April 13 issue of the journal Science. Collagen is the main ingredient of connective tissue in animals and is found in cartilage, ligaments, tendons, hooves, bones and teeth. It yields gelatin and glue when boiled in water.

"I mean can you imagine pulling a bone out the ground after 68 million years and then getting intact protein sequences?" said John Asara of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, lead author of one of the studies. "That's just mind boggling how much preservation there is in these bones."

The previous record holder for the oldest protein tissue belonged to collagen found in a 100,000- to 300,000-year-old mammoth bone.

The new finding will be viewed skeptically, admitted one of the researchers involved in the two studies. "It's very, very, very controversial because most people have gone on record saying there's an absolute time limit to anything that's protein or DNA," said Mary Schweitzer, a molecular paleontologist at North Carolina State University

Matthew Carrano, a dinosaur curator at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in either study, said the protein findings are robust. "Here are the pieces of the protein. If you're going to refute this you have to explain how these pieces got in there," Carrano said in a telephone interview.

"It's not another molecule mimicking the protein and giving off a similar signal. This is the actual sequence."

Bone basics

The T. rex leg bone, which looks like a giant drumstick, was unearthed by Jack Horner of the Museum of the Rockies in 2003 in the Hell Creek Formation, a fossil-packed area that spans Montana, Wyoming and North and South Dakota.

In 2005, Schweitzer and her colleagues reported they had found evidence for soft, stretchy tissue sealed inside the dinosaur's fossilized femur. The finding made headlines, but was also questioned by some experts.

The hard stuff of bones is all that usually remains when a dead organism is buried beneath layers of earth. Usually, microbes devour all the easy-to-access soft tissue. So finding relatively intact soft tissue was a major claim.

"For centuries it was believed that the process of fossilization destroyed any original material, consequently no one looked carefully at really old bones," Schweitzer said.

To gather her evidence, Schweitzer ran chemical analyses, finding the tissue reacted with antibodies from collagen taken from chicken and other avian tissues. Also, images from high-powered microscopes revealed a repeating series of thin stripes characteristic of collagen fibers.

Asara then ran the tiny samples through a mass spectrometer, a machine that measures mass and charge of individual molecules, finding the relic tissue was indeed collagen.

Dinosaur-bird link

A comparison by Asara's team of the amino-acid sequence from the T. rex collagen to a database of existing sequences from modern species showed it shared a remarkable similarity to that of chickens. Amino acids are the molecular building blocks of proteins; there are 20 of them used by organisms to build proteins, and their precise order is determined by instructions found in DNA.

"I'm grateful that he was able to get the [amino acid] sequences out. That's the Holy Grail," Schweitzer told LiveScience.

This finding supports the idea that chickens and T. rex share an evolutionary link and bolsters previous research showing that birds evolved from dinosaurs and that birds are living dinosaurs.

"Here we have a real molecule from a real dinosaur, and it's much more similar to a bird than it is to anything else," Carrano said.

The discovery will open the door for a suite of studies once thought off limits in the field of paleontology. For instance, proteins could supply more direct evidence about evolutionary links between living and extinct organisms.

"Protein sequences often reflect little bits of the evolutionary history of animals, how they are different or similar among groups," Carrano said. "This can provide information for extinct animals on how they are related through evolution to living groups of animals if we could pull out these kinds of molecules."

Plus, the process of fossilization remains somewhat of a mystery. "This is a really valuable window into [fossilization] because here you have some of the original material preserved," Carrano said.

"We would never have asked a question that required this information in the past and that shut the whole door on those avenues of research. And now they are potentially open to us," Carrano said.

Scientists being the kind of people who do not leave well enough alone, it was only a matter of time...

The Jurassic Park scientist who plans to turn a chicken into T Rex 25 Oct 2011


In a lab in the Montana Rockies, the palaeontologist who advised Spielberg on the making of 'Jurassic Park' tells Nick Collins how he is using genetics to create a modern-day dinosaur.

... The discovery that birds are descended from dinosaurs means it should be possible to reverse the changes made by evolution and return them, bit by bit, to a more dinosaur-like state. "For a long time I wanted to have a pet dinosaur, or something like it," Horner tells me when I visit his lab at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. "Jurassic Park was about trying to create a dinosaur, to bring it back. We have learnt that birds are dinosaurs, so I don't have to really do that. But if you look at a bird, it doesn't look like a dinosaur, so we have to modify them. The 'Dino Chicken' project is really a project to modify a bird by some simple genetic engineering to make it look more like a dinosaur."


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Reply Weekend Economists Debate: Which Came First? The Incredible, Edible Egg November 27-29, 2015 (Original post)
Demeter Nov 2015 OP
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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 04:41 PM

1. This calls for---


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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 04:58 PM

2. All chickens descend from south east Asia



The team of researchers from the University of New England (Armidale, Australia) studied the ancient DNA – known as mitochondrial DNA – preserved within 48 archaeological chicken bones and found the same DNA signature present in bones from Europe, Thailand, the Pacific, Chile, the Dominican Republic and Spanish colonial sites in Florida.

Project researcher Dr Alison Storey says chickens have been domesticated for at least 5400 years and it has been difficult to determine the ancient origin and dispersal of chickens because of the way successive civilisations carried the domesticated poultry with them wherever they went.

"What we found is that one of the sequences in the different chicken bones was very similar over a wide geographic area. This tells us that the chickens that we found in archaeological sites all over the world shared an ancient ancestor who was domesticated somewhere in southeast Asia a long time ago," Dr Storey told the ABC.

"All of our domestic chickens are descended from a few hens that I like to think of as the 'great, great grandmothers' of the chicken world," she says.

The report, published in the journal PLos ONE, has implications for the world of human movement as much as it does for the DNA of poultry. The report says: "Understanding when chickens were transported out of domestication centres and the directions in which they were moved provides information about prehistoric migration, trade routes, and cross cultural diffusion." The report says the global distribution of chickens provides a unique example as the dispersion is largely attributable to humans because the fowls do not migrate, cannot fly over long distances and are not equipped for swimming.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 05:08 PM

4. How the Chicken Conquered the World



The chickens that saved Western civilization were discovered, according to legend, by the side of a road in Greece in the first decade of the fifth century B.C. The Athenian general Themistocles, on his way to confront the invading Persian forces, stopped to watch two cocks fighting and summoned his troops, saying: “Behold, these do not fight for their household gods, for the monuments of their ancestors, for glory, for liberty or the safety of their children, but only because one will not give way to the other.” The tale does not describe what happened to the loser, nor explain why the soldiers found this display of instinctive aggression inspirational rather than pointless and depressing. But history records that the Greeks, thus heartened, went on to repel the invaders, preserving the civilization that today honors those same creatures by breading, frying and dipping them into one’s choice of sauce. The descendants of those roosters might well think—if they were capable of such profound thought—that their ancient forebears have a lot to answer for.

Chicken is the ubiquitous food of our era, crossing multiple cultural boundaries with ease. With its mild taste and uniform texture, chicken presents an intriguingly blank canvas for the flavor palette of almost any cuisine. A generation of Britons is coming of age in the belief that chicken tikka masala is the national dish, and the same thing is happening in China with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Long after the time when most families had a few hens running around the yard that could be grabbed and turned into dinner, chicken remains a nostalgic, evocative dish for most Americans. When author Jack Canfield was looking for a metaphor for psychological comfort, he didn’t call it “Clam Chowder for the Soul.”

How did the chicken achieve such cultural and culinary dominance? It is all the more surprising in light of the belief by many archaeologists that chickens were first domesticated not for eating but for cockfighting. Until the advent of large-scale industrial production in the 20th century, the economic and nutritional contribution of chickens was modest. In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond listed chickens among the “small domestic mammals and domestic birds and insects” that have been useful to humanity but unlike the horse or the ox did little—outside of legends—to change the course of history. Nonetheless, the chicken has inspired contributions to culture, art, cuisine, science and religion over the millennia. Chickens were, and still are, a sacred animal in some cultures. The prodigious and ever-watchful hen was a worldwide symbol of nurturance and fertility. Eggs hung in Egyptian temples to ensure a bountiful river flood. The lusty rooster (a.k.a. cock) was a universal signifier of virility—but also, in the ancient Persian faith of Zoroastrianism, a benign spirit that crowed at dawn to herald a turning point in the cosmic struggle between darkness and light. For the Romans, the chicken’s killer app was fortunetelling, especially during wartime. Chickens accompanied Roman armies, and their behavior was carefully observed before battle; a good appetite meant victory was likely. According to the writings of Cicero, when one contingent of birds refused to eat before a sea battle in 249 B.C., an angry consul threw them overboard. History records that he was defeated.

But one major religious tradition—ironically, the one that gave rise to matzo-ball soup and the Sunday chicken dinner—failed to imbue chickens with much religious significance. The Old Testament passages concerning ritual sacrifice reveal a distinct preference on the part of Yahweh for red meat over poultry. In Leviticus 5, a guilt offering of two turtledoves or pigeons is acceptable if the sinner in question is unable to afford a lamb, but in no instance does the Lord request a chicken. Matthew 23:37 contains a passage in which Jesus likens his care for the people of Jerusalem to a hen caring for her brood. This image, had it caught on, could have completely changed the course of Christian iconography, which has been dominated instead by depictions of the Good Shepherd. The rooster plays a small but crucial role in the Gospels in helping to fulfill the prophecy that Peter would deny Jesus “before the cock crows.” (In the ninth century, Pope Nicholas I decreed that a figure of a rooster should be placed atop every church as a reminder of the incident—which is why many churches still have cockerel-shaped weather vanes.) There is no implication that the rooster did anything but mark the passage of the hours, but even this secondhand association with betrayal probably didn’t advance the cause of the chicken in Western culture. In contemporary American usage, the associations of “chicken” are with cowardice, neurotic anxiety (“The sky is falling!”) and ineffectual panic (“running around like a chicken without a head”).

The fact is that the male of the species can be quite a fierce animal, especially when bred and trained for fighting. Nature armed the rooster with a bony leg spur; humans have supplemented that feature with an arsenal of metal spurs and small knives strapped to the bird’s leg. Cockfighting is illegal in the United States—Louisiana was the last state to ban it, in 2008—and generally viewed by Americans as inhumane. But in the parts of the world where it is still practiced, legally or illegally, it has claims to being the world’s oldest continual sport. Artistic depictions of rooster combatants are scattered throughout the ancient world, such as in a first century A.D. mosaic adorning a house in Pompeii. The ancient Greek city of Pergamum established a cockfighting amphitheater to teach valor to future generations of soldiers.

The domesticated chicken has a genealogy as complicated as the Tudors, stretching back 7,000 to 10,000 years and involving, according to recent research, at least two wild progenitors and possibly more than one event of initial domestication. The earliest fossil bones identified as possibly belonging to chickens appear in sites from northeastern China dating to around 5400 B.C., but the birds’ wild ancestors never lived in those cold, dry plains. So if they really are chicken bones, they must have come from somewhere else, most likely Southeast Asia. The chicken’s wild progenitor is the red junglefowl, Gallus gallus, according to a theory advanced by Charles Darwin and recently confirmed by DNA analysis. The bird’s resemblance to modern chickens is manifest in the male’s red wattles and comb, the spur he uses to fight and his cock-a-doodle-doo mating call. The dun-colored females brood eggs and cluck just like barnyard chickens. In its habitat, which stretches from northeastern India to the Philippines, G. gallus browses on the forest floor for insects, seeds and fruit, and flies up to nest in the trees at night. That’s about as much flying as it can manage, a trait that had obvious appeal to humans seeking to capture and raise it. This would later help endear the chicken to Africans, whose native guinea fowls had an annoying habit of flying off into the forest when the spirit moved them.

But G. gallus is not the sole progenitor of the modern chicken. Scientists have identified three closely related species that might have bred with the red junglefowl. Precisely how much genetic material these other birds contributed to the DNA of domesticated chickens remains a matter of conjecture. Recent research suggests that modern chickens inherited at least one trait, their yellow skin, from the gray junglefowl of southern India. Did a domesticated breed of G. gallus spread initially from Southeast Asia, traveling either north to China or southwest to India? Or were there two separate heartlands of domestication: ancient India and Southeast Asia? Either scenario is possible, but probing more deeply into chicken origins is hindered by an inconclusive DNA trail. “Because domesticated and wild birds mixed over time, it’s really difficult to pinpoint,” says Michael Zody, a computational biologist who studies genetics at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

The chicken’s real star turn came in 2004, when an international team of geneticists produced a complete map of the chicken genome. The chicken was the first domesticated animal, the first bird—and consequently, the first descendant of the dinosaurs—thus honored. The genome map provided an excellent opportunity to study how millennia of domestication can alter a species. In a project led by Sweden’s Uppsala University, Zody and his colleagues have been researching the differences between the red junglefowl and its barnyard descendants, including “layers” (breeds raised to produce prodigious amounts of eggs) and “broilers” (breeds that are plump and meaty). The researchers found important mutations in a gene designated TBC1D1, which regulates glucose metabolism. In the human genome, mutations in this gene have been associated with obesity, but it’s a positive trait in a creature destined for the dinner table. Another mutation that resulted from selective breeding is in the TSHR (thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor) gene. In wild animals this gene coordinates reproduction with day length, confining breeding to specific seasons. The mutation disabling this gene enables chickens to breed—and lay eggs—all year long.

Once chickens were domesticated, cultural contacts, trade, migration and territorial conquest resulted in their introduction, and reintroduction, to different regions around the world over several thousand years. Although inconclusive, evidence suggests that ground zero for the bird’s westward spread may have been the Indus Valley, where the city-states of the Harappan civilization carried on a lively trade with the Middle East more than 4,000 years ago. Archaeologists have recovered chicken bones from Lothal, once a great port on the west coast of India, raising the possibility that the birds could have been carried across to the Arabian Peninsula as cargo or provisions. By 2000 B.C., cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia refer to “the bird of Meluhha,” the likely place name for the Indus Valley. That may or may not have been a chicken; Professor Piotr Steinkeller, a specialist in ancient Near Eastern texts at Harvard, says that it was certainly “some exotic bird that was unknown to Mesopotamia.” He believes that references to the “royal bird of Meluhha”—a phrase that shows up in texts three centuries later—most likely refer to the chicken.

Chickens arrived in Egypt some 250 years later, as fighting birds and additions to exotic menageries. Artistic depictions of the bird adorned royal tombs. Yet it would be another 1,000 years before the bird became a popular commodity among ordinary Egyptians. It was in that era that Egyptians mastered the technique of artificial incubation, which freed hens to put their time to better use by laying more eggs. This was no easy matter. Most chicken eggs will hatch in three weeks, but only if the temperature is kept constant at around 99 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity stays close to 55 percent, increasing in the last few days of incubation. The eggs must also be turned three to five times a day, lest physical deformities result.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 05:16 PM



The Egyptians constructed vast incubation complexes made up of hundreds of “ovens.” Each oven was a large chamber, which was connected to a series of corridors and vents that allowed attendants to regulate the heat from fires fueled by straw and camel dung. The egg attendants kept their methods a secret from outsiders for centuries.

Around the Mediterranean, archaeological digs have uncovered chicken bones from about 800 B.C.. Chickens were a delicacy among the Romans, whose culinary innovations included the omelet and the practice of stuffing birds for cooking, although their recipes tended more toward mashed chicken brains than bread crumbs. Farmers began developing methods to fatten the birds—some used wheat bread soaked in wine, while others swore by a mixture of cumin seeds, barley and lizard fat. At one point, the authorities outlawed these practices. Out of concern about moral decay and the pursuit of excessive luxury in the Roman Republic, a law in 161 B.C. limited chicken consumption to one per meal—presumably for the whole table, not per individual—and only if the bird had not been overfed. The practical Roman cooks soon discovered that castrating roosters caused them to fatten on their own, and thus was born the creature we know as the capon.

But the chicken’s status in Europe appears to have diminished with the collapse of Rome. “It all goes downhill,” says Kevin MacDonald, a professor of archaeology at University College in London. “In the post-Roman period, the size of chickens returned to what it was during the Iron Age,” more than 1,000 years earlier. He speculates that the big, organized farms of Roman times—which were well suited to feeding numerous chickens and protecting them from predators—largely vanished. As the centuries went by, hardier fowls such as geese and partridge began to adorn medieval tables.

Europeans arriving in North America found a continent teeming with native turkeys and ducks for the plucking and eating. Some archaeologists believe that chickens were first introduced to the New World by Polynesians who reached the Pacific coast of South America a century or so before the voyages of Columbus. Well into the 20th century, chickens, although valued, particularly as a source of eggs, played a relatively minor role in the American diet and economy. Long after cattle and hogs had entered the industrial age of centralized, mechanized slaughterhouses, chicken production was still mostly a casual, local enterprise. The breakthrough that made today’s quarter-million-bird farms possible was the fortification of feed with antibiotics and vitamins, which allowed chickens to be raised indoors. Like most animals, chickens need sunlight to synthesize vitamin D on their own, and so up through the first decades of the 20th century, they typically spent their days wandering around the barnyard, pecking for food. Now they could be sheltered from weather and predators and fed a controlled diet in an environment designed to present the minimum of distractions from the essential business of eating. Factory farming represents the chicken’s final step in its transformation into a protein-producing commodity. Hens are packed so tightly into wire cages (less than half a square foot per bird) that they can’t spread their wings; as many as 20,000 to 30,000 broilers are crowded together in windowless buildings.

The result has been a vast national experiment in supply-side gastro-economics: Factory farms turning out increasing amounts of chicken have called forth an increasing demand. By the early 1990s, chicken had surpassed beef as Americans’ most popular meat (measured by consumption, that is, not opinion polls), with annual consumption running at around nine billion birds, or 80 pounds per capita, not counting the breading. Modern chickens are cogs in a system designed to convert grain into protein with staggering efficiency. It takes less than two pounds of feed to produce one pound of chicken (live weight), less than half the feed/weight ratio in 1945. By comparison, around seven pounds of feed are required to produce a pound of beef, while more than three pounds are needed to yield a pound of pork. Gary Balducci, a third-generation poultry farmer in Edgecomb, Maine, can turn a day-old chick into a five-pound broiler in six weeks, half the time it took his grandfather. And selective breeding has made the broilers so docile that even if chickens are given access to outdoor space—a marketing device that qualifies the resulting meat to be sold as “free-range”—they prefer hanging out at the mechanized trough, awaiting the next delivery of feed. “Chickens used to be great browsers,” says Balducci, “but ours can’t do that. All they want to do now is eat.”

It is hard to remember that these teeming, clucking, metabolizing and defecating hordes awaiting their turn in the fryer are the same animals worshiped in many parts of the ancient world for their fighting prowess and believed by the Romans to be in direct communication with Fate. A chicken bred for the demands of American supermarket shoppers presumably has lost whatever magical powers the breed once possessed. Western aid workers discovered this in Mali during a failed attempt to replace the scrawny native birds with imported Rhode Island Reds. According to tradition, the villagers divine the future by cutting the throat of a hen and then waiting to see in which direction the dying bird falls—left or right indicates a favorable response to the diviner’s question; straight forward means “no.” But the Rhode Island Red, weighted down by its disproportionately large breast, always fell straight forward, signifying nothing meaningful except the imminence of dinner.

Santería—the religion that grew up in Cuba with elements borrowed from Catholicism, native Carib culture and the Yoruba religion of West Africa—ritually sacrifices chickens, as well as guinea pigs, goats, sheep, turtles and other animals. Devotees of Santería were the petitioners in a 1993 First Amendment case, in which the Supreme Court unanimously overturned local ordinances banning animal sacrifice. The case pitted a Santería church, Lukumi Babalu Aye, and its priest, Ernesto Pichardo, against the city of Hialeah, Florida; many mainstream religious and civil-rights groups lined up with the church, while animal-rights proponents sided with the city. “Although the practice of animal sacrifice may seem abhorrent to some,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the decision, “religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection.”

Chickens make wonderful pets, as breeders will tell you, especially if they think they could interest you in buying some chicks. They are as colorful as tropical fish but more affectionate, as cute as guinea pigs but better tasting, and, according to Jennifer Haughey, who raises chickens near Rhinebeck, New York, “far better mousers than our cats.”

What characteristics do chicken-owners value most? To Barbara Gardiner Whitacre, who raises five breeds of chickens in upstate New York, a leading criterion is egg color—the deep chocolate-brown eggs of her Welsummers, the jade green of the Ameraucana, the speckled olive of Ameraucana hens after a Welsummer rooster got loose and created an inadvertent cross. Also, hardiness, cuteness and a willingness to brood—to sit on a nest full of fertilized eggs until they hatch, contributing their own labor to the farm economy. The eggs don’t even have to be their own: As necessity dictates, Whitacre will substitute eggs laid by another hen, or even a duck. Unfortunately, these qualities are sometimes in conflict. She raises a breed called Silkies, with good looks to spare, bearing luxuriant feathers of an exceptional fluffiness. However, they also have blue skin and dark blue, almost black, meat and bones, which means they’re not the first thing you think of when company’s coming for dinner. Two years ago, Whitacre reluctantly sampled two Silkie roosters. “Of course, it was utterly delicious and tender, but blue-gray meat?” she recalls. “And the bones really are freakish-looking. So now if I can bring myself to use one for food, I generally use it in a dish with color: a nice coq au vin or something with tomatoes and thyme.” This is a prejudice not shared by some Asian cultures, which prize Silkies for food and medicinal purposes. Whitacre was surprised to see whole frozen Silkies, which each weigh only about a pound and a half, selling for more than $10 in her local Asian market.

Exotic and heritage breeds of chicken go for considerable sums of money—as much as $399 for a single day-old chick, as listed on the website of Greenfire Farms, where the names of the breeds are almost as beautiful as the birds themselves: the Cream Legbar, with its sky-blue eggs; the iridescent, flamboyantly tailed and wattled Sulmatler; the Jubilee Orpingtons in speckled brown and white, like a hillside on which the springtime sun has begun to melt the winter snow. The Silver Sussex, according to the website, looks “like a bird designed by Jackson Pollock during his black and silver period.” An advantage of many heritage breeds—an advantage for the chickens, that is—is that they spread their egg-laying careers over several years, unlike commercial varieties, bred for production, that are washed up in half that time.

And, for some chickens, the day comes when they are no longer wanted. That’s when the man of the house marches into the yard, puts the bird in the back seat and drives to Whitacre’s farm, leaving the chicken with her, whimpering that he just can’t bring himself to do what has to be done.

As he walks away, Whitacre sometimes says to herself, “I’m going to process eight birds today, mister. What’s wrong with you?”

Let us now praise chicken in all its extra-crispy glory! Chicken, the mascot of globalization, the universal symbol of middlebrow culinary aspiration! Chicken that has infiltrated the Caesar salad and made inroads on turkey in the club sandwich, that lurks under a blanket of pesto alongside a tangle of spaghetti and glistens with teriyaki sauce. Chicken that—marinated in yogurt and spices, grilled on a skewer and then set afloat in a mild, curry-flavored gravy—has become “a true British national dish,” on no less authority than former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook. In a 2001 address that has gone down in history as “the chicken tikka masala speech,” he chose that cuisine to symbolize his nation’s commitment to multiculturalism. The most frequently served dish in British restaurants, Cook said, was “a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences. Chicken tikka is an Indian dish. The masala sauce was added to satisfy the desire of British people to have their meat served in gravy.” The great event took place in the early 1970s in an Indian restaurant in Glasgow, according to a Scottish MP who urged the European Union to grant the dish a “protected designation of origin.” This did not sit well with chefs in New Delhi, one of whom described chicken tikka masala as “an authentic Mughlai recipe prepared by our forefathers who were royal chefs in the Mughal period,” which covered roughly the 16th through 18th centuries.

If there’s an American counterpart to the tikka masala story, it might be General Tso’s chicken, which the New York Times has described as “the most famous Hunanese dish in the world.” That might come as news to chefs in Hunan, who apparently had never heard of it until the opening of China to the West in recent decades. The man generally credited with the idea of putting deep-fried chicken pieces in a hot chili sauce was the Hunan-born chef Peng Chang-kuei, who fled to Taiwan after the Communist revolution in 1949. He named the dish for a 19th-century military commander who led the suppression of the Taiping Rebellion, a largely forgotten conflict that claimed upwards of 20 million lives. Peng moved to New York in 1973 to open a restaurant that became a favorite of diplomats and began cooking his signature dish. Over the years it has evolved in response to American tastes to become sweeter, and in a kind of reverse cultural migration has now been adopted as a “traditional” dish by chefs and food writers in Hunan.

But increasingly, as foreign observers have noticed, “chicken” to the Chinese, at least those who live in the cities, means what’s served at KFC. Since the first drumstick was dipped into a fryer in Beijing in 1987, the chain has opened more than 3,000 branches around the country, and is now more profitable in China than in the United States. Numerous reasons have been advanced for this success, from the cleanliness of the restrooms to the alleged resemblance of Colonel Sanders to Confucius, but it apparently does not reflect a newfound Chinese appetite for the cuisine of the American mid-South. “You can find bone-in fried chicken there,” notes Mary Shelman, a Kentucky native and the head of the agribusiness program at Harvard Business School. “But it’s always dark meat, which the Chinese prefer, and it’s one menu item out of around 30, and it’s not the most popular.” The chain has thrived by offering the Chinese customers food they were already familiar with, including (depending on the region) noodles, rice and dumplings, along with chicken wraps, chicken patties and chicken wings, which are so popular, Shelman says, that the company periodically has to deny rumors it has a farm somewhere that raises six-winged chickens.

If it did, you could be sure, chicken hobbyists would be clamoring to buy them for their flocks, fancy restaurants would add them to their menus and food bloggers would be debating whether the first, second or third pair made the best Buffalo wings. The globe-spanning chicken is an epic story of evolutionary, agricultural and culinary success, outnumbering human beings on the planet by nearly three to one. Yes, we get to eat them, but we also feed them. And they provide—along with omelets, casseroles, fricassees, McNuggets and chicken-liver pâté—an answer to the question that every 6-year-old boy, visiting a natural history museum for the first time, has asked his parents: “What did a dinosaur taste like?”

It tasted like chicken.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #6)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 05:26 PM



Many bird species possess yellow skin and legs whereas other species have white or black skin color. Yellow or white skin is due to the presence or absence of carotenoids. The genetic basis underlying this diversity is unknown. Domestic chickens with yellow skin are homozygous for a recessive allele, and white skinned chickens carry the dominant allele. As a result, chickens represent an ideal model for analyzing genetic mechanism responsible for skin color variation. In this study we demonstrate that yellow skin is caused by regulatory mutation(s) that inhibit expression of the beta-carotene dioxygenase 2 (BCDO2) enzyme in skin, but not in other tissues. Because BCDO2 cleaves colorful carotenoids into colorless apocarotenoids, a reduction in expression of this gene produces yellow skin. This study also provides the first conclusive evidence of a hybrid origin of the domestic chicken. It has been generally assumed that the red junglefowl is the sole ancestor of the domestic chicken. A phylogenetic analysis, however, demonstrates that though the white skin allele originates from the red junglefowl, the yellow skin allele originates from a different species, most likely the grey junglefowl. This result significantly advances our understanding of chicken domestication.


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Response to Demeter (Reply #7)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 05:29 PM

8. Chicken Color Genetics





by W. F. Hollander

Hutt comments that the silkie breed of chickens has 7 mutants:

1. White plumage
2. Black skin and flesh
3. Crest
4. Fathered feet (boots)
5. Rose comb
6. Polydactyly
7. Silky feathers

We can add a couple of additional mutants:

8. Beard
9. Short main wing and tail feathers.

Most, if not all, are homozygous. Numbers 1, 7, and 9 are recessive or mainly so; the others are dominant or mainly so.

How could this breed (combination of mutants) have originated? How would you go about producing it? Most if not all of the mutants are found singly elsewhere in chickens (breeds or varieties or local races).

Collecting all the mutants (singly) into a pool could produce random combinations of the dominants, but the recessives would be almost impossible to keep track of this way. We think it likely that the recessives would need to be combined into a "core" stock, and the dominants added to it. Sounds simple, but just try it! Remember that most of the dominants are to be homozygous in the final product.

Oh yes, how will you fund the project? What will you do with the many undesired progeny? Remember that when the project was going on Mendel hadn't been born, and sitting hens were the incubators, and no feed mills existed.

Hey!---Maybe the breed was introduced by UFO from Andromeda or another galaxy?


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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 05:07 PM

3. Classical Chicken Muppet Music Video

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Fri Nov 27, 2015, 05:13 PM

5. The Muppet Chickens sing "Baby Face"

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Fri Nov 27, 2015, 05:45 PM

9. Man and Poultry


There are probably more recognized breeds of dogs than chickens, but not for lack of trying...

To get an idea:


Chickens noted for egg-laying, meat production, show quality, or personality


27 Bizarre And Beautiful Chickens

Ayam Cemani

Almost everything about this gorgeous chicken is black. Seriously. Beneath the black feathers and skin you’ll find black-tinted organs and muscles.

Transylvanian Naked Neck

This breed is often mistakenly assumed to be a cross between a chicken and a turkey, but they were actually first bred in Hungary, where their featherless necks made them better at handling the heat and easier to pluck.

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Fri Nov 27, 2015, 05:49 PM

10. How can you tell if a chicken is happy?



A scientist claims caged hens live better than free-range birds. Has common sense flown the coop?

At first, the sheer scale is hard to fathom. I can see yard after yard of metal and hardly any animals. But the noise is unmistakable: a steady clucking sound, which rumbles throughout the enormous building.

It is only when your eyes adjust to the low level of light that you slowly notice the birds. Initially, just a few hundred and then more and more. I am standing on a metal gangway – like the ones you find in high security prisons. On either side of the narrow walkway, hens are packed in groups of 60 to each “cage”. The cages stretch for 330 feet to the end of the shed, and they run along each of the eight different storeys in the shed. I am on the highest level and can glimpse thousands of feathers and glinting eyes beneath my feet. It is unnerving.

In total, there are 76,000 hens in this shed. This is just one of the five sheds that Phill Crawley, a ruddy-faced, second-generation poultry farmer, owns in Leicestershire. And, alongside the barns dotted among the orchards and fields, are thousands upon thousands more chickens.

That is because Sunrise Eggs, his family company – responsible for 2 per cent of the 9.3 billion eggs laid in Britain every year – produces free-range as well as “colony” eggs.

Colony, or “enriched cage”, used to be known as battery eggs, but the European Union last year forced all farmers to move to the higher-welfare colony system, after years of wrangling with the industry. Under the old system, you were allowed to keep 18 hens in one square metre – about the size of the floor of a telephone box. The new system allows for 13 hens in the same area.

To my eye, this existence still looks pretty miserable. The hens never leave their cage, never see daylight and cannot walk more than a few feet back and forth. Crawley says matter of factly: “They’ve never known any different.”

He has allowed me in to inspect his farm after a leading chicken expert at the University of Bristol, Prof Christine Nicol, suggested that many free-range hens were no happier than those in enriched cages.

“It looks horrendous. It looks like a factory, your worst nightmare of an industrial intensive system,” Prof Nicol said. “But when you look inside the cages, I’m not saying it’s great… but the birds have space, they have a perch, they have got things to scratch on.”

Crawley is rightly proud of his well-run farm. His colony sheds are industrial, but along with that comes a surprisingly low level of smell and dirt – the chicken muck is taken away on a conveyor belt every two days, keeping the floors of the cage surprisingly clean. He plucks a hen from the cage and lets me inspect it closely: its feathers are glossy and its eyes are bright.

“I don’t think any system is perfect,” he says. “Each system has its good points as well as its not-so-good points.”

A few years ago it seemed all the supermarkets would join the likes of Marks & Spencer and become free-range only. “But then the credit crunch came along,” says Crawley. “And the supermarkets said, 'Actually, we’d better keep colony hens.’ It was very much a cost-driven thing.”


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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 05:53 PM

11. FOWL WORDS: Terminology


In the UK and Ireland adult male chickens over the age of one year are primarily known as cocks, whereas in America, Australia and Canada they are more commonly called roosters. Males less than a year old are cockerels. Castrated roosters are called capons (surgical and chemical castration are now illegal in some parts of the world). Females over a year old are known as hens and younger females as pullets although in the egg-laying industry, a pullet becomes a hen when she begins to lay eggs at 16 to 20 weeks of age. In Australia and New Zealand (also sometimes in Britain), there is a generic term chook /ˈtʃʊk/ to describe all ages and both sexes. The young are called chicks and the meat is called chicken.

"Chicken" originally referred to chicks, not the species itself. The species as a whole was then called domestic fowl, or just fowl. This use of "chicken" survives in the phrase "Hen and Chickens", sometimes used as a British public house or theatre name, and to name groups of one large and many small rocks or islands in the sea (see for example Hen and Chicken Islands). The word "chicken" is sometimes erroneously construed to mean females exclusively, despite the term "hen" for females being in wide circulation.

In the Deep South of the United States chickens are also referred to by the slang term yardbird.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 06:27 PM



Many diseases that afflict humans have jumped from other species, and chickens are no different.

CHICKENPOX --not traced to chickens--Chickens don't even get infected by the virus — varicella zoster, a member of the herpes family — that causes the rash. (They can however, get an infection with similar effects called fowl pox.)

In the 1600s, an English physician named Richard Morton described what he thought a mild form of smallpox as "chicken pox." Later, in 1767, a physician named William Heberden, also from England, was the first physician to clearly demonstrate that chickenpox was different from smallpox.


There are many explanations offered for the origin of the name "chickenpox:"

Samuel Johnson suggested that the disease was "no very great danger," thus a "chicken" version of the pox;
the specks that appear looked as though the skin was pecked by chickens;
the disease was named after chick peas, from a supposed similarity in size of the seed to the lesions;
the term reflects a corruption of the Old English word giccin, which meant "itching."

As "pox" also means curse, in medieval times some believed it was a plague brought on to curse children by the use of black magic.

Before the 1995 introduction of the varicella vaccine, Varivax, virtually all children born each year in the United States contracted chickenpox, with a rate of only about five of every 1,000 needing hospitalization and about 100 deaths a year (Longe 2006). By ages nine or ten, about 80 to 90 percent of American children were infected, and adults counted for less than five percent of all cases, with about 90 percent immune to the virus (Longe 2005). However, adults are more likely than children to suffer dangerous consequences, and about half of all deaths occur among adults (Knapp and Wilson 2005).

Humans are the only known animal that the disease affects naturally. However, chickenpox has been caused in other primates, including chimpanzees and gorillas.


Avian Influenza

Avian influenza refers to the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. Avian flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with avian flu viruses have occurred.

Avian Influenza A Virus Infections in Humans

Although avian influenza A viruses usually do not infect humans, rare cases of human infection with these viruses have been reported. Most human infections with avian influenza A viruses have occurred following direct or close contact with infected poultry. Illness in humans has ranged from mild to severe.

The spread of avian influenza A viruses from one ill person to another has been reported very rarely, and has been limited, inefficient and not sustained. However, because of the possibility that avian influenza A viruses could change and gain the ability to spread easily between people, monitoring for human infection and person-to-person transmission is extremely important for public health.

Signs and Symptoms of Avian Influenza A Virus Infections in Humans

The reported signs and symptoms of low pathogenic avian influenza* (LPAI) A virus infections in humans have ranged from conjunctivitis to influenza-like illness (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches) to lower respiratory disease (pneumonia) requiring hospitalization. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A virus infections in people have been associated with a wide range of illness from conjunctivitis only, to influenza-like illness, to severe respiratory illness (e.g. shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, viral pneumonia, respiratory failure) with multi-organ disease, sometimes accompanied by nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and sometimes neurologic changes (altered mental status, seizures). LPAI H7N9 and HPAI Asian H5N1 have been responsible for most human illness worldwide to date, including the most serious illnesses and deaths.

Detecting Avian Influenza A Virus Infection in Humans

Avian influenza A virus infection in humans cannot be diagnosed by clinical signs and symptoms alone; laboratory testing is required. Avian influenza A virus infection is usually diagnosed by collecting a swab from the nose or throat of the sick person during the first few days of illness. This specimen is sent to a lab; the laboratory looks for avian influenza A virus either by using a molecular test, by trying to grow the virus, or both. (Growing avian influenza A viruses should only be done in laboratories with high levels of protection).

For critically ill patients, collection and testing of lower respiratory tract specimens may lead to diagnosis of avian influenza virus infection. For some patients who are no longer very sick or who have fully recovered, it may be difficult to find the avian influenza A virus in the specimen, using these methods. Sometimes it may still be possible to diagnose avian influenza A virus infection by looking for evidence of the body's immune response to the virus infection by detecting specific antibodies the body has produced in response to the virus. This is not always an option because it requires two blood specimens (one taken during the first week of illness and another taken 3-4 weeks later). Also, it can take several weeks to verify the results, and testing must be performed in a special laboratory, such as at CDC.


Chlamydiosis (Psittacosis)

Chlamydiosis (Psittacosis) is caused by Chlamydia psittaci, an obligate intracellular bacterial parasite. The disease in Psittacines (parrots) and humans is called psittacosis, while Ornithosis is the name of the disease in bird species other than Psittacines. The disease in psittacines is also commonly called Parrot Fever.

C. psittaci can cause disease in humans, birds, cows, goats, sheep and pigs. Most human cases are contracted from psittacines, pigeons, and turkeys. The disease can be transmitted from person to person.

A great variation in pathogenicity (the ability to cause disease) of various strains exists for humans and birds. Some strains - such as those found in pigeons - may not cause disease in their hosts. Other strains - especially those in psittacines can cause disease in people and birds.

Infected birds shed elementary bodies in their feces, urine, saliva, ocular secretions, nasal exudates, and feather dust. These infectious particles are inhaled or ingested by other birds and people. Egg transmission has been documented in the duck, budgie, and turkey. The incubation period in birds is several months to several years.

Birds with active chlamydiosis may have inflamed eyes, difficulty in breathing, watery droppings and green urates. Many birds are asymptomatic carriers and appear clinically normal yet infected. Any stress such as transportation, malnutrition, concurrent illness, poor ventilation, overcrowding, and breeding can cause shedding of the organism and clinical disease.

Humans are usually infected by the inhalation of infective particles in the air. The incubation period is 5 to 14 days. Symptoms are generally those of the flu - fever, diarrhea, chills, congunctivitis, and sore throat.

A number of tests are available to diagnose the disease in the live bird. Unfortunately, it is not possible to declare a bird free of chlamydia on the basis of any one test. It is recommended that an antigen and an antibody test be done. The new PCR (polymerase - chain reaction) is a highly sensitive test that is now available.

Treatment for both people and birds is doxycycline or tetracycline. People are treated for 3 weeks, while birds are treated for 45 days.


Salmonella is a gram negative aerobic rod-shaped bacterium that can infect people, birds, and other animals. It can persist in soil and water for long periods of time.

A large number of serotypes exist and the ability to cause disease depends upon the serotype involved. All salmonella serotypes produce endotoxins capable of causing food poisoning. The toxin in the food source and the bacterium are both capable of producing disease.

Birds can become infected with salmonella by oral ingestion of contaminated food, water and through the egg - either by ventical transmisson or by penetration of the egg shell. Poultry and pigeons may carry salmonella yet appear healthy. Infected birds will be lethargic, lose their appetite, have watery droppings and may develop arthritis. Parrots may develop bloody diarrhea, profound depression, a high white blood cell count, and often die.

Most human cases of salmonella are acquired by eating contaminated food especially poultry rather than from pet birds. The incubation period is 6 - 72 hours in people. Vomiting, bloody diarrhea, fever and dehydration may occur. Recovery may occur in 2 - 4 days. Salmonella can be transmitted from person to person. Humans carrying salmonella can infect their pet birds.

Diagnosis in the live bird can be difficult since birds may be intermittent shedders. Fecal or cloacal cultures are used for diagnosis. Birds are treated with aggressive antibiotics for 3 - 5 weeks based on culture and sensitivity. Birds may remain carriers for life.

Antibiotics are not usually prescribed for people unless they have a prolonged fever and are septicemic.

Avian Tuberculosis (Mycobacteriosis)

Avian Tuberculosis occurs throughout the world and has been found in the waterfowl, turkeys, psittacines, passerines, columbiformes and raptors.

In psittacines, tuberculosis is usually caused by Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium intracellulare and Mycobacterium genovense. M. tuberculosis and M. bovis have occassionally been isolated in birds. Humans are more commonly infected with M. tuberculosis and occasionally M. bovis. It is believed that immunocompetent humans are resisitant to the strains of tuberculosis found in birds, but that immunocompromised people - such as those infected with HIV, those on chemotherapy, the elderly and children are at increased risk.

Avian tuberculosis is transmitted by ingestion and inhalation of aerosolized infectious organisms from feces. Incubation in birds is weeks to months. Although many species of birds can be infected, the majority of cases occur in older amazons and grey cheeks. M.avium, the most common cause of tuberculosis in birds is often found in soil and water. It can survive for a long period of time in the environment and can multiply in inanimate objects.

Three types of syndromes may occur in birds. The classic form is that of tubercles or granulomas in many organs. A second form is the paratuberculosis form with lesions in the intestional tract. This is often seen in amazons, pionus, and Brotogeris parrots. With this form, high numbers of organisms are shed in the feces. A third form is a nontuberculous form or atypical form that is very difficult to recognize. This form commonly occurs in finches, canaries, and small pisttacines. The liver is usually very enlarged and large numbers of mycobacteria are found in cytology and histopathology.

Birds with the intestional form often present with chronic wasting disease - and Proventricular Dilitation Syndrome is often one of the suspected possible diseases. In addition to weight loss, depression, diarrhea, increased urination (polyuria), abdominal distention, lameness and difficulty in breathing may be present.

In adult humans, tuberculosis frequently affects the lungs, producing respiratory signs. In young children, the cervical lymph nodes are often involved, while immunocompromised people often have the disseminated form.

Diagnosis of tuberculosis in the live bird can be very difficult due to intermittent fecal shedding and obscure signs. Physical findings, very elevated white blood cell and low red blood cell count and other diagnostic tests which include radiology (x-rays), endoscopy and identification of acid fast bacteria in feces or tissues can lead to a preliminary diagnosis. Definitive diagnosis is based on culturing the organism from the feces or from an organ. Not all acid fast organisms are mycobacteria, therefore just identifying acid fast organisms does not provide a conclusive diagnosis. New tests that may aid in the diagnosis include the DNA probe and the polymerase chain test.

Erradication is difficult due to the chronic carrier state and intermittent shedding of a large number of organisms.

If a positive bird is identified, it should be separated from the collection. Treatment of a positive bird is contaversial because of the large number of organisms shed in the feces and because the organism is resistant to many of the drugs used to treat human T.B. The infected bird must be treated for a long period using combination drug treatment.

All contact birds should be quarantined for 2 years and tested at 6-12 week intervals.

People who are infected with human tuberculosis should not own birds, since these people may serve as a source of infection for their pet birds.

Avian Influenza

Influenza is caused by an enveloped RNA virus. It is an infectious disease of birds, swine, humans and other animals. Three types of Influenza viruses exist - types A, B, and C. Influenza A viruses infect birds and other animals, while B and C infect people.

Hundreds of subtypes of Influenza A viruses have been isolated from birds and other mammals. Influenza viruses are continuously undergoing change, resulting in new serotypes. Migratory birds, especially waterfowl are believed to be reservoirs for Influenza A virus. The infection often causes an inapparent intestinal disease in waterfowl. These infected waterfowl don't show signs of disease unless severely stressed by other diseases or transport. These inapparently infected birds shed the virus from their respiratory tract, conjunctiva (lining of the eyes) and in their feces - serving as a source of infection for other birds. Incubation may be as short as a few hours.

The signs of illness depend upon the species infected, the age, environmental factors, and virulence of the viral strain. Birds may die suddenly without showing signs of illness or develop depression, appetite loss, coughing, sneezing and decreased egg production.

Influenza A has been isotated from captive birds, including psittacines (parrots) and passerines (canaries, finches, sparrow, starlings, etc). Psittacines my demonstrate loss of balance, torticollis (twisted neck) and may die.

The virus may be isolated from swabs of the cloaca and upper respiratory tract in the live bird. It may be isolated from the lungs, liver, spleen and brain at postmortem.

A companion bird could serve as a source of virus exposure for humans, but it is more likely that humans could serve as a source of virus exposure for susceptible companion birds. If a human has clinical signs of the "flu", he should avoid contact with his bird.

Wild migratory birds should not be allowed contact with companion birds, chickens and turkeys - as they may serve as a means of spreading Influenza.



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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 08:14 PM

13. Chicken Soup with Rice


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Fri Nov 27, 2015, 08:19 PM

14. N. Rimsky-Korsakov "The Golden Cockerel" Opera


The Little Golden Cockerel (Russian: Золотой петушок, Zolotoy petushok) is an opera in three acts, with short prologue and even shorter epilogue, by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Its libretto, by Vladimir Belsky, derives from Alexander Pushkin's 1834 poem The Fairy Tale of the Little Golden Cockerel, which in turn is based on two chapters of Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving. The opera was completed in 1907 and premiered in 1909 in Moscow, after the composer's death. Outside Russia it has often been performed in French as Le coq d'or.


Time: Unspecified
Place: In the thrice-tenth tsardom, a far off place (beyond thrice-nine lands) in Russian fairy tales
Note: There is an actual city of Shemakha (also spelled "Şamaxı", "Schemacha" and "Shamakhy", which is the capital of the Shamakhi Rayon of Azerbaijan. In Pushkin's day it was an important city and capital of what was to become the Baku Governorate. But the realm of that name, ruled by its tsaritsa, bears little resemblance to today's Shemakha and region; Pushkin likely seized the name for convenience, to conjure an exotic monarchy.

After quotation by the orchestra of the most important leitmotifs, a mysterious Astrologer comes before the curtain and announces to the audience that, although they are going to see and hear a fictional tale from long ago, his story will have a valid and true moral.

Act 1

The bumbling Tsar Dodon talks himself into believing that his country is in danger from a neighbouring state, Shemakha, ruled by a beautiful tsaritsa. He requests advice of the Astrologer, who supplies a magic Little Golden Cockerel to safeguard the tsar's interests. When the little cockerel confirms that the Tsaritsa of Shemakha does harbor territorial ambitions, Dodon decides to pre-emptively strike Shemakha, sending his army to battle under the command of his two sons.

Act 2
Tsar Dadon meets the Shemakha queen

However, his sons are both so inept that they manage to kill each other on the battlefield. Tsar Dodon then decides to lead the army himself, but further bloodshed is averted because the Little Golden Cockerel ensures that the old tsar becomes besotted when he actually sees the beautiful Tsaritsa. The Tsaritsa herself encourages this situation by performing a seductive dance – which tempts the Tsar to try and partner her, but he is clumsy and makes a complete mess of it. The Tsaritsa realises that she can take over Dodon’s country without further fighting – she engineers a marriage proposal from Dodon, which she coyly accepts.

Act 3

The Final Scene starts with the wedding procession in all its splendour. As this reaches its conclusion, the Astrologer appears and says to Dodon, “You promised me anything I could ask for if there could be a happy resolution of your troubles ... .” “Yes, yes,” replies the tsar, “Just name it and you shall have it.” “Right,” says the Astrologer, “I want the Tsaritsa of Shemakha!” At this, the Tsar flares up in fury, and strikes down the Astrologer with a blow from his mace. The Little Golden Cockerel, loyal to his Astrologer master, then swoops across and pecks through the Tsar’s jugular. The sky darkens. When light returns, tsaritsa and little cockerel are gone.


The Astrologer comes again before the curtain and announces the end of his story, reminding the public that what they just saw was “merely illusion,” that only he and the tsaritsa were mortals and real.

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Fri Nov 27, 2015, 08:43 PM

15. General biology and habitat of Gallus Gallus


Chickens are omnivores. In the wild, they often scratch at the soil to search for seeds, insects and even larger animals such as lizards, small snakes or young mice.

Chickens may live for five to ten years, depending on the breed. The world's oldest chicken, a hen, died of heart failure at the age of 16 according to Guinness World Records.

Roosters can usually be differentiated from hens by their striking plumage of long flowing tails and shiny, pointed feathers on their necks (hackles) and backs (saddle), which are typically of brighter, bolder colours than those of females of the same breed. However, in some breeds, such as the Sebright chicken, the rooster has only slightly pointed neck feathers, the same colour as the hen's. The identification can be made by looking at the comb, or eventually from the development of spurs on the male's legs (in a few breeds and in certain hybrids, the male and female chicks may be differentiated by colour). In some breeds the adult rooster can be distinguished from the hen by his larger comb. Adult chickens have a fleshy crest on their heads called a comb, or cockscomb, and hanging flaps of skin either side under their beaks called wattles. Collectively, these and other fleshy protuberances on the head and throat are called caruncles. Both the adult male and female have wattles and combs, but in most breeds these are more prominent in males. A muff or beard is a mutation found in several chicken breeds which causes extra feathering under the chicken's face, giving the appearance of a beard. Domestic chickens are not capable of long distance flight, although lighter birds are generally capable of flying for short distances, such as over fences or into trees (where they would naturally roost). Chickens may occasionally fly briefly to explore their surroundings, but generally do so only to flee perceived danger.

Social behaviour

Chickens are gregarious birds and live together in flocks. They have a communal approach to the incubation of eggs and raising of young. Individual chickens in a flock will dominate others, establishing a "pecking order", with dominant individuals having priority for food access and nesting locations. Removing hens or roosters from a flock causes a temporary disruption to this social order until a new pecking order is established. Adding hens, especially younger birds, to an existing flock can lead to fighting and injury. When a rooster finds food, he may call other chickens to eat first. He does this by clucking in a high pitch as well as picking up and dropping the food. This behaviour may also be observed in mother hens to call their chicks and encourage them to eat.

A rooster's crowing (a loud and sometimes shrill call) is a territorial signal to other roosters. However, crowing may also result from sudden disturbances within their surroundings. Hens cluck loudly after laying an egg, and also to call their chicks. Chickens also give a low "warning call" when they think they see a predator approaching.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 08:48 PM

16. Muppet Show: Chickens on Piano

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Fri Nov 27, 2015, 08:48 PM



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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:08 PM

18. How Black Friday played out around the country



Overall, there seemed to be smaller crowds throughout stores and malls across the country.
Here's how the day played out:



Hundreds of protesters blocked entrances to stores in Chicago's high-end shopping district to draw attention to the police shooting of a black teenager. The demonstration came after the release of a video this week showing the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald last year. The video touched off largely peaceful protests. On Friday, some of the demonstrators in Chicago linked arms to form human chains in front of main entrances to stores. Store employees directed shoppers to exit from side doors. When one person tried to get through the front door of Saks Fifth Avenue, protesters screamed at him, shouting, "Shut it down! Shut it down." Entrances were also blocked at the Disney Store, the Apple Store, Nike, Tiffany & Co., and Neiman Marcus. Many shoppers seemed to take the disturbance in stride, and some even snapped photos of the crowd. Protesters took different approaches. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, for instance, led a prayer with a group from the steps of Chicago's historic Water Tower.


Business was brisk but not overwhelming at a Macy's in Kansas City as rain that started Thursday morning continued falling. There didn't appear to be any lines more than a few customers deep...

At a Kmart in Denver, Susan Montoya had nearly the entire store to herself. She half-heartedly flipped through a rack of girls' holiday party dresses and looked down the store's empty aisles. "There's no one out here! No challenge!" she said.


Colorado has a new Black Friday tradition: Marijuana shops drawing shoppers with discounted weed and holiday gift sets...


At Catalina State Park just north in Arizona, dozens of families and dogs hiked through the saguaro cactus-covered mountains. Many said they didn't plan on shopping on Black Friday anyway...


For the first time, analysts had predicted more than half of online traffic to retailer sites would come from smartphones than desktops during the four-day Black Friday holiday shopping weekend. On Friday, there was evidence that shoppers were vacillating between both stores and online...


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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:09 PM

19. Oil prices fall more than 3% as dollar and oversupply continue to weigh



Oil prices settled sharply lower Friday, pressured by a stronger dollar and the global oversupply of crude still clouding the outlook for the industry.

Weak industrial data from China and a regulatory crackdown on Chinese stockbrokers also put pressure on the commodity, as fears about oil demand resurfaced...


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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:12 PM

20. Junk bond yields are soaring — and the Fed hasn’t raised rates yet



The riskiest junk bonds’ yields have almost doubled in a year


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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 03:19 AM

21. Life in Crimea - Then and Now

From an American living there - then and now.

I'd like to mention that a good deal of what he says about the "then" part certainly applies to a good portion of the rest of the country. A good section of Kiev has always had it better than the "then" in this article. Why? All of the national level politicians must spend at least some time in Kiev and generally maintain a residence here, meaning the roads and the electric and the water system must be maintained better than most areas. Plus, a general facade of modernity must be maintained for when outsiders come in looking to invest. If a certain level of economic activity can be maintained, it means a higher level of prosperity and greater opportunities for those whose sole purpose it would seem is to leech off of everybody else.

Us? I guess you could say we're in a good position. We live not too far from a hotel, and have lot of restaurants around too, including one in the $50 per person range, we're not too far away from a couple of important government buildings, and have housing decent enough for a lot of the short and long term expats, whether they live here, like me, or are on a diplomatic or UN or EU assignment. Don't want these people returning home badmouthing the place, now do we? So our electric, heat, and water situation, etc. remains much the same as before. Not to say that you don't notice problems though. I've seen some nice new painted lines on roads that have seen minimal maintenance since the "revolution", but don't let that fool you. There will be places that will thoroughly rattle your car if you hit it the wrong way. But at least the roads look nice when that happens!


Life in Crimea 20 months after reunification with Russia … by Auslander | The Vineyard of the Saker

Life in General

Krimea and Sevastopol were treated as a backwater, a poor southern province of little import beyond a pleasant place to holiday in summer and an area to be looted to the very ground and beyond. Not a kopek was spent on infrastructure since the fall of SSSR beyond what was needed to keep the water, gas, electric, sewer and transportation systems functional within reason.

The roads were, and are, a patchwork quilt of small repairs done only as needed and the rule of thumb was and is the repairs are done only if someone of importance is discomfited by a particular street or road. On the other hand it is quite hilarious to see hectares of palatial mansions built on former vineyard lands (illegal in both Ukraine and Russia) with the required number of S Klasse and other luxurious transport sitting outside and inside the compounds and the streets are rutted dirt that become quagmires during the first drops of rain. The old saw of ‘money don’t buy you class’ apparently holds true in this humble city as it does everywhere.

The city electric supply system was, under Ukraine, a nightmare. Nothing was renovated for over 20 years and in fact little was ‘modernized’ since the system was rebuilt in the late ‘40’s, the philosophy being ‘it still works, why spend money on it?’. Going in to a substation, which I have done, was like taking a tour of an electrical museum, exposed electromechanical relays and switches carrying 480 volts, fabric wrapped wiring, generally aluminum, crumbling concrete walls, floors and ceilings that dripped water in heavy rains, in essence a disaster waiting to happen. Electric service could be relied upon to cease at random intervals, the norm was two or three times a week, reason unknown, but it was often enough and long enough that one of the first purchases I made when we started to build the house was a diesel generator.

With the change of landlord the city electrical grid was the first, and so far only, infrastructure system to be renovated after a fashion. Sevastopol does have a fair sized electrical power generating plant located on harbor near Inkerman. It is coal powered although plans are to switch to natural gas power. I do not know when this change of fuel will happen and it is possible it will never happen, for a reason.

Many of the small substations were renovated and modernized including the tiny one feeding our valley not a block away, located in an obscure corner of the park. This alone stopped most of the outages in our valley. There was also an attempt to at least make some order of the jumble of feed wires coming to and from the stations, must of which would give an electrical engineer a heart attack at the sight of them. By summer of 2014 the random power outages were generally a thing of the past. If there was to be a power cutoff announcements were made on radio and TV as to where, when and the projected time frame of the cutoff.

-----> http://thesaker.is/life-in-crimea-20-months-after-reunification-with-russia-by-auslander/

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Response to MattSh (Reply #21)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 05:41 AM

28. So, I took those couple of paragraphs I wrote...

put it through this website:


And it told me I write like Tolstoy.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 03:33 AM

22. Musical Interlude

Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens performed by Asleep At The Wheel:

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Response to hamerfan (Reply #22)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 06:37 AM

29. Musical Interlude II

The Chicken with Jeff Golub, Anton Fig, Victor Bailey, and Matt King:


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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 04:04 AM

23. The Easter Egg Chicken


(I thought about posting something more on topic, and decided I need a break from reality, if this is what they are serving...)

The "Easter Egg Chicken" originally came from Chile in South America, discovered by the Araucana Indians. The true pure Araucana chicken is rumpless (tailless) , has a small curling tuft of feathers next to each ear and come in different pure color types. The true pure Ameraucana chicken has a tail, full beard and comes in pure color types. The Easter Egg Chickens are different because they have a full beard under the beak rather than a tuft and have a tail rather than rumpless and do NOT have pure color types...The color of their egg shells vary from pale blue chicken eggs to dark blue to various shades of green and a few light brownish/pink eggs. The meat is delicious and it has a taste similar to quail.


Easter Eggers are not a breed per se, but a variety of chicken that does not conform to any breed standard but lays large to extra large eggs that vary in shade from blue to green to olive to aqua and sometimes even pinkish. Easter Eggers vary widely in color and conformation, and are exceptionally friendly and hardy. Since they are usually quite friendly to children and humans in general, they are a great choice for a family flock. Most hatcheries mistakenly label their Easter Eggers as Ameraucanas or Araucanas (or various misspellings thereof). True Ameraucanas and Araucanas are currently only available through breeders. Easter Eggers do not qualify to be shown, since they do not conform to a breed standard.


An Easter Egger is any chicken that possesses the "blue egg" gene, but doesn't fully meet any breed standard defined in the American Poultry Association's (APA) standards, or in the case of Easter Egger bantams, the American Bantam Association's (ABA) standards. The name derives from the resemblance of their colorful eggs to Easter eggs. The Araucana, Ameraucana, and Easter Egger are descended from the same founder stock that spread around the world from Chile and the Falklands.



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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 04:12 AM

24. CHICKENS: In religion and mythology


Since antiquity chickens have been, and still are, a sacred animal in some cultures and deeply embedded within belief systems and religious worship. The term "Persian bird" for the cock appears to been given by the Greeks after Persian contact "because of his great importance and his religious use among the Persians".

In Indonesia the chicken has great significance during the Hindu cremation ceremony. A chicken is considered a channel for evil spirits which may be present during the ceremony. A chicken is tethered by the leg and kept present at the ceremony for its duration to ensure that any evil spirits present go into the chicken and not the family members. The chicken is then taken home and returns to its normal life.

In ancient Greece, the chicken was not normally used for sacrifices, perhaps because it was still considered an exotic animal. Because of its valor, the cock is found as an attribute of Ares, Heracles, and Athena. The alleged last words of Socrates as he died from hemlock poisoning, as recounted by Plato, were "Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt?", signifying that death was a cure for the illness of life.

The Greeks believed that even lions were afraid of roosters. Several of Aesop's Fables reference this belief.

In the New Testament, Jesus prophesied the betrayal by Peter: "Jesus answered, 'I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.'" It happened, and Peter cried bitterly. This made the rooster a symbol for both vigilance and betrayal.

Earlier, Jesus compares himself to a mother hen when talking about Jerusalem: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing."

In the sixth century, Pope Gregory I declared the rooster the emblem of Christianity and another Papal enactment of the ninth century by Pope Nicholas I ordered the figure of the rooster to be placed on every church steeple.

In many Central European folk tales, the devil is believed to flee at the first crowing of a rooster.

In traditional Jewish practice, a kosher animal is swung around the head and then slaughtered on the afternoon before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in a ritual called kapparos; it is now common practice to cradle the bird and move it around the head. A chicken or fish is typically used because it is commonly available (and small enough to hold). The sacrifice of the animal is to receive atonement, for the animal symbolically takes on all the person's sins in kapparos. The meat is then donated to the poor. A woman brings a hen for the ceremony, while a man brings a rooster. Although not a sacrifice in the biblical sense, the death of the animal reminds the penitent sinner that his or her life is in God's hands.

The Talmud speaks of learning "courtesy toward one's mate" from the rooster. This might refer to the fact that when a rooster finds something good to eat, he calls his hens to eat first. The Talmud likewise provides us with the statement "Had the Torah not been given to us, we would have learned modesty from cats, honest toil from ants, chastity from doves and gallantry from cocks," which may be further understood as to that of the gallantry of cocks being taken in the context of a religious instilling vessel of "a girt one of the loins" (Young's Literal Translation) that which is "stately in his stride" and "move with stately bearing" in the Book of Proverbs 30:29-31 as referenced by Michael V. Fox in his Proverbs 10-31 where Saʻadiah ben Yosef Gaon (Saadia Gaon) identifies the definitive trait of "A cock girded about the loins" in Proverbs 30:31 (Douay–Rheims Bible) as "the honesty of their behavior and their success", identifying a spiritual purpose of a religious vessel within that religious instilling schema of purpose and use.

The chicken is one of the Zodiac symbols of the Chinese calendar. In Chinese folk religion, a cooked chicken as a religious offering is usually limited to ancestor veneration and worship of village deities. Vegetarian deities such as the Buddha are not recipients of such offerings. Under some observations, an offering of chicken is presented with "serious" prayer (while roasted pork is offered during a joyous celebration). In Confucian Chinese weddings, a chicken can be used as a substitute for one who is seriously ill or not available (e.g., sudden death) to attend the ceremony. A red silk scarf is placed on the chicken's head and a close relative of the absent bride/groom holds the chicken so the ceremony may proceed. However, this practice is rare today.

A cockatrice was supposed to have been born from an egg laid by a rooster, as well as killed by a rooster's call.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 04:36 AM

25. Since no one else has" Chicken Jokes!



Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To prove to the possum that it could be done!

Q: Why did the turkey cross the road?
A: To prove he wasn't chicken!

Q: Why did the chicken go to KFC?
A: He wanted to see a chicken strip.

Q: Why did the rooster cross the road?
A: To cockadoodle dooo something!

Q: Did you hear about the chicken who could only lay eggs in the winter?
A: She was no spring chicken.

Q: Which day of the week do chickens hate most?
A: Fry-day!

Q: How did the headless chicken cross the road?
A: in a KFC bucket.

Q: What happens when you drop a hand gren-egg?
A: It eggs-plodes!

Q: What do you call a chicken with a piece of lettuce in its eye?

Q: Why did the chick disappoint his mother?
A: He wasn't what he was cracked up to be!

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road, roll in the mud and cross the road again?
A: Because he was a dirty double-crosser!

Q: What did the chicken do when she saw a bucket of fried chicken?
A: She kicked the bucket!

Q: What do you get if you cross a chicken with a cement mixer?
A: A brick layer!
Q: Why did half a chicken cross the road?
A: To get to its other side!

Q: What do you call a crazy chicken?
A: A cuckoo cluck!

Q: What do chickens grow on?
A: Eggplants!

Q: Why did the chicken cross the basketball court?
A: He heard the referee calling fowls

Q: Why is it easy for chicks to talk?
A: Because talk is cheep!

Q: Why did the chicken cross the playground?
A: To get to the other slide.

Q: What do you get when you cross a chicken with a duck?
A: A bird that lays down!

Q: Why does a chicken coop have two doors?
A: Because if had four doors it would be a chicken sedan!

Psychiatrist: What seems to be the problem? Patient: I think I'm a chicken. Psychiatrist: How long as this been going on? Patient: Ever since I came out of my shell.

source: http://www.jokes4us.com/animaljokes/chickenjokes.html

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Here are some answers, in the spirit of various well-known physicists, to the age-old question:

Why did the chicken cross the road?

After finding the first four of the following answers on the web, I figured I’d make up some more, and I got on a roll. Have fun with them. A few are a bit esoteric...

If you like this page, you’ll probably like the limericks in my new mechanics textbook. But don’t let those fool you about the book -- it's a serious one, as you'll see if you take a look. The limericks are there just to lighten things up.

— David Morin


Albert Einstein: The chicken did not cross the road. The road passed beneath the chicken.

Isaac Newton: Chickens at rest tend to stay at rest. Chickens in motion tend to cross roads.

Wolfgang Pauli: There was already a chicken on this side of the road.

Carl Sagan: There are billions and billions of such chickens, crossing roads just like this one, all across the universe. (Apologies for perpetuating the misquote.)

Jean-Dernard-Leon Foucault: What’s interesting is that if you wait a few hours, it will be crossing the road a few inches back that way.

Robert Van de Graaf: Hey, doesn’t it look funny with all its feathers sticking up like that?

Albert Michelson and Edward Morley: Our experiment was a failure. We could not detect the road.

Ludwig Boltzmann: If you have enough chickens, it is a near certainty that one of them will cross the road.

Johannes van der Waals: Some say it was a sixth sense that led the chicken to cross the road. I say it was a sixth power.

David Hilbert: I was standing on the side of the road and a chicken came along, evidently in some kind of strange state. I informed it that it was nevertheless still in my space, so it went across the road.

Blaise Pascal: The chicken felt pressure on this side of the road. However, when it arrived on the other side it still felt the same pressure.

John David Jackson: You’ll find out after you complete this 37-page calculation.

Henri Poincare: Let’s try changing the initial position of the chicken just a tiny, tiny, tiny bit, and….look, it’s now across the road!

Enrico Fermi: In estimating to the nearest power of 10 the number of chickens that cross the road, note that since fractional chickens are not allowed, the desired power must be at least zero. Therefore, at least one chicken crosses the road.

Werner Heisenberg: Because I made darn sure it was standing right next to me on this side.

Richard Feynman, 1: It’s all quite clear from this simple little diagram of a circle with lines poking out of it.

Richard Feynman, 2: There was this good-looking rooster on the other side of the road, and he figured he’d skip all the games and just get to the point. So he asked the chicken if she’d like to come over to his side, and she said sure.

Erwin Schrodinger: The chicken doesn’t cross the road. Rather, it exists simultaneously on both sides…..just don’t peek.

Charles Coulomb: The chicken found a similar chicken on this side of the road to be repellent.

John Bell: Since there are no local hidden chickens, any hidden chickens you find must have come from far away. They therefore surely must have crossed at least one road on their way here.

Henry Cavendish: My dear chicken, I have calculated with the utmost detail and precision the density of your insides. Now, for the sake of my precious sanity, I beg you, stop that incessant clucking and be gone!

Arthur Compton: There were a bunch of chickens waving at me on this side of the road, but then a car came along and they all scattered to the other side. The funny thing is that the ones that ended farthest away were still waving at me a few minutes later. So apparently, the ones that scattered the most had the longest waves.

Hans Geiger: I don’t know, but I say we count how many times it crosses!

Howard Georgi: It can cross all it wants, but I’m going to sit here and wait until it decays.

Edward Teller: I will build a more powerful chicken, and it will cross the road with more energy than any chicken before!

Oskar Klein: Actually, it can get to the other side of the road without crossing it.

Satyendra Bose: An identical chicken already crossed the road, so this one was much more likely to do the same.

Wallace Clement Sabine: If you listen very carefully, you can hear the pitter patter of chicken feet, which implies that a chicken must be crossing the road.

Sir David Brewster: Let me give you my angle on this….

Galileo Galilei: The chicken crossed the road because it put one foot in front of the other and took a sufficient number of steps to traverse a distance greater than or equal to the road’s width. Note that the reason is not because the earth is the center of the universe. Oh, great… another jail term.

David Gross, H. David Politzer, Frank Wilczek: The road is not wide. And at short distances a chicken is free to do whatever it wants.

Robert Millikan: It didn't. It made it part way and then just sort of hovered there, apparently feeling an equal pull in both directions.

Peter Higgs: We must first find the chicken.

Nicolaus Copernicus: The chicken was moving at a slightly different orbital speed around the sun.

Fusion researchers: Because it knew that in 30 years it would get to the other side. [No insult intended here. Well, at least not to the physicists working hard with the meager funds they've been given.]

George Francis FitzGerald: It had its doubts, but after starting across the road, the chicken observed that the distance to the other side didn’t seem quite as large, so it figured it would continue on.

Leo Szilard: First one chicken crossed. This then caused a few more to cross, each of which in turn caused a few more…

George Atwood: The chicken wanted to introduce a setup that would enable it to pose a question and thereby torture future students over and over and over...

Johannes Kepler: I don't know. But I'm glad it did, because as it waddled across, it was kind enough to sweep the area of the road with its wings. And it did so at an astonishingly consistent rate.

Robert Pound and Glen Rebka: It was out for a morning jog and wanted to get its heart rate up by crossing over the crown of the road.

Robert Hooke: At first, the chicken was drawn across the road. But after passing the middle, it felt an increasing desire to return to the original side. It did end up making it to the other side (just barely), but then decided to return. I believe it is still going back and forth on this.

Lisa Randall: The only thing about the chicken we ever discuss is why it crossed the road. There are many more dimensions to it than that!

Norman Ramsey: I don’t know why, but I do know that it took 4.71988362706153 seconds to get there.

Pierre de Fermat: Forget about why. I’ll show you how it can get there in the least amount of time.

Neils Bohr: In attempting to answer the question by observing the chicken, I collapsed its wavefunction to the other side.

Gustav Kirchhoff: It actually crossed the road twice, due to a strange desire to form a closed loop.

Louis de Broglie: Interesting, it always seems to flap its wings an integral number of times before it comes back.

Michael Faraday: No, again? How many times do I have to tell it to stick to the safety of its cage?!

Max Planck: It appears to be a white chicken. Sorry, I deal only with black bodies.

Sir William Hamilton: With regard to the issue of crossing the road, the chicken made it to the other side by taking as little action as possible.

Hugh Everett: I don’t know, but there’s another one over there that isn’t crossing the road.

Edward Witten: 50 years ago, you probably would have said there was no hope of answering this question either.

Archimedes: I was running through the streets yelling and screaming, and it was only afterward that I realized I was carrying a chicken.

Amadeo Avogadro: What, just one? I deal only with very large chicken numbers.

Ptolemy: Someone will probably think of a simpler explanation in a few thousand years, but the present understanding is that the chicken crosses the road because it is constrained to move on this here sphere, which in turn has its center on this one over here. The end result is that, except in the rare case of retrograde chicken motion, the chicken does indeed cross the road.

Marie Curie: Good question. And one that is much less hazardous to one’s health.

Willebrod Snell: I’m not sure, but I did notice that when it stepped onto the road, it changed its direction.

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss: Draw a pillbox around the road, and consider the flux of chickens through the box. If a chicken leaves this side of the road, then assuming that there are no chicken sinks or sources, it must end up on the other side.

Johann Balmer: Why are there only two lines in the middle of the road?

James Clerk Maxwell: Ok, Miss Chicken, let’s figure this out together. Hold out your right foot…. yes, that’s it…. good…. now curl your talons…. right…. now look at your…. hold on – you don’t have any thumbs!

Osborne Reynolds: No idea. But I can see from the ruffled feathers that this was turbulent chicken flow.

Karl Schwarzschild: The sad thing is, I know I could have answered this question too. [This one isn’t meant to be funny.]

Christian Doppler: It always sounds a bit down when it’s heading over there, but rather upbeat when it’s coming back.

Edwin Hubble: Strange, it seems to move faster the farther away it gets.

Ernest Rutherford: The differential cross section for forward chicken scattering is quite large, so the chicken will most likely cross the road if it was initially heading in that direction.

Lene Hau: Well, I wish it hadn't. It cut right in front of me while I was out for a bike ride, chatting it up with a photon.

Stephen Hawking: Chicken fluctuations will inevitably create a scenario where a chicken ends up on the other side of the yellow line, in which case there is a nonzero probability that it will escape to the other side.

Lord Kelvin: I don’t know. But I think the road actually starts back there a bit.

Daniel Bernoulli: Because it enjoyed flying to the other side. Ok, wait, can someone tell me once and for all if I’m relevant to all this flying stuff or not?!

Robert Oppenheimer: Although it was deemed appropriate at the time, people will forever question whether it was correct for the chicken to cross the road.

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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 04:49 AM

26. SPEAKING OF JOKES: Japan Proves that “Fix Trade” Sales Pitch for TPP, TTIP, and TISA is Wrong


By Clive, an investment technology professional and Japanophile


It’s raining acronyms – all with the stated aim of helping improve global trade.

  • Regular Naked Capitalism readers will need no introduction to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), described by the U.S. as “enhancing trade and investment, supporting jobs, economic growth and development” which sounds worthy enough but does suggest that trade needs some help.

  • Then there’s the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which promises that “Thanks to this agreement, Americans could find it a lot easier to sell goods and services to consumers in the European Union (EU)” suggesting that, without the T-TIP, things are a bit difficult at the moment.

  • Finally on our tour of Things Our Governments Are Doing to Help Us is the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), “which should further advance services liberalisation and regulatory disciplines.” I’ll confess that I’m not entirely certain how you advance services liberalisation but obviously the thinking is that “services” need “liberating”, although from what isn’t particularly well explained. However, cleverer minds than mine believe it is something worth doing.

    Not one, then, but three different treaties or agreements are now required to help trade. Or are they? For these various initiatives, the common thread running through them all is that, like Mommy’s Little Helpers, they’re there to offer assistance to, presumably, meet a need that exists and is not currently being met. So the evidence for erratic, static or even declining trade should be – as a minimum – clear and – preferably – significant. But it is not. Just the opposite in fact and for the U.S. imports keep on growing, exports keep on growing and the flows are huge. Maybe in amongst all that international trade there are casualties and the cause of those casualties are barriers to trade of some description? You don’t need to look too hard to find casualties when it comes to international trade. There’s plenty of examples to go round. Let’s take a look at some of these examples and find out what’s going wrong.

    I’ll concentrate on Japan because for historic reasons Japan is traditionally viewed as a country which is hard for non-domestic companies to find success in because of ill-defined but oft cited “barriers” to trade. Dragging Japan into participation in the TPP was seen by the US Trade Representative as being crucial because, under lobbying from U.S. interests, it was deemed to be a huge market just waiting for exploitation by these same interests, but they were prevented from doing so because of Japan’s unfair restrictions on trade. While reading these tales of woe, keep in mind one thing that even the dumbest MBA flunker would be expected to know. Enterprises should only ever consider expending outside their home market into overseas territories if:

    • they have an unquestionable competitive advantage


    • that competitive advantage can also be replicated in the overseas county

    Both factors must be in place. It is obviously silly to attempt to start operations overseas if you are uncompetitive in your home country. But even if you are successful in your home market, whatever has made you successful must also be applicable in the new overseas market. If you rely on buying politicians, getting tax breaks, financial engineering, implicit or explicit government support, being a state-tolerated monopoly, practicing dubious treatment of suppliers or labour, being responsible for tolerated or covered-up environmental degradation or suchlike, then you are not running a successful enterprise, you are running a looting operation targeting your country of origin. It will be very difficult to recreate those sort of pre-requisites for your business to succeed elsewhere. Regulations may be tougher. Enforcement may be less compromised. You won’t know the culture so you won’t know who to buy favours from, when and for how much. And local competition may be doing all this already and won’t want you muscling in so will try to thwart you.

    Example 1: U.S. Too Big to Fail Bank Citi Fails in Japan’s Retail Banking Market

    Example 2: When the Going Gets Tough, RBS Gets Going (out of the country)

    TBTF is the single biggest impediment to increasing trade in financial services. And the TPP does nothing at all about it...Enough of financial markets. They are opaque which is a feature not a bug, so let’s move on to something simpler. There is, superficially, nothing simpler than general merchandise or grocery retailing and it is from that sector that we can look at our next example of a company which crashed and burned but again for reasons which have little to do with tariffs, regulations or restrictive practices in Japan.

    Example 3: Britain’s Tesco Recreates its (not so) Wonderful Product and Service Offer in Japan, Japanese Shoppers Ask “What Have We Done to Deserve This?”

    In summary, then, there is little available evidence to support the hypothesis that, absent the TPP, trade with Japan is somehow being strangled. On the contrary, our lessons from Japan have shown that:

    • In financial services there are no barriers to entry for foreign competitors in the Japanese retail banking market and the Citi example demonstrates that you cannot polish a turd. Breaking into a new territory requires a compelling product and/or service offer or a combination of time, patience and money. No “trade agreement” such as the TPP can provide enterprises with any of these things. The private sector must be willing to develop that which will give a competitive advantage and then stay the course while they establish themselves in their target country. Blaming non-existent regulatory burdens is not a good enough excuse.

    • Competition is, however, definitely stifled by zombie companies propped up for no good reason by government support, either tacit or overt. RBS was only able to participate in the trade in fixed income securities when it was implicitly backstopped by the taxpayer. Once taxpayer support ended, RBS had to quit the fixed income market in Japan. This was a correct outcome and should be encouraged. But the TPP does nothing to end the problem of Too Big to Fail institutions which distort the competitive environment.

    • Even if a market is being influenced by the presence of regulation, such as Japan’s retail sector was presumed to be with the Large-Scale Retail Stores Law, removal of such regulations does not necessarily result in the outcomes that those agents pressing for the removal (usually those who are hoping that deregulation will be to their advantage) seek. Deregulation of the Large-Scale Retail Stores Law only weakly, if at all, increased total trade and any such increase was dwarfed by overall – and unrelated – changes in the wider economy such as demographics and the participation of women in the workplace. The TPP would not force Japanese consumers to suddenly start switching their preference from quality and service to price sensitivity. If, say, U.S. companies want to compete in the Japanese market, do they really have the ability to provide what the market has, repeatedly, shown that it wants? If not, no amount of TPP “help” is going to increase trade.

    Could it be that instead of Japan having barriers to trade which the TPP is supposed to remove, U.S. (and other western) companies have simply lost the ability to compete?

    Another explanation is that, as we have previously stated http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/11/the-tpp-is-a-multi-dimensional-simultaneous-equation.html the TPP is nothing but kayfabe covering moves to establish a regional security treaty without scaring China. But while China is many things, stupid isn’t one of them.
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    Response to Demeter (Original post)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 05:04 AM

    27. Drone Pilots have Bank Accounts, Credit Cards Frozen by Feds for Exposing US Murder/William N. Grigg



    For having the courage to come forward and expose the drone program for the indiscriminate murder that it is, 4 vets are under attack from the government they once served.

    The U.S. Government failed to deter them through threats of criminal prosecution, and clumsy attempts to intimidate their families. Now four former Air Force drone operators-turned-whistleblowers have had their credit cards and bank accounts frozen, according to human rights attorney Jesselyn Radack.

    “My drone operators went public this week and now their credit cards and bank accounts are frozen,” Radack lamented on her Twitter feed (the spelling of her post has been conventionalized). This was done despite the fact that none of them has been charged with a criminal offense – but this is a trivial formality in the increasingly Sovietesque American National Security State.

    Michael Haas, Brandon Bryant, Cian Westmoreland and Stephen Lewis, who served as drone operators in the US Air Force, have gone public with detailed accounts of the widespread corruption and institutionalized indifference to civilian casualties that characterize the program. Some of those disclosures were made in the recent documentary Drone; additional details have been provided in an open letter from the whistleblowers to President Obama, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and CIA Director John Brennan.

    “We are former Air Force service members,” the letter begins. We joined the Air Force to protect American lives and to protect our Constitution. We came to the realization that the innocent civilians we were killing only fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS, while also serving as a fundamental recruiting tool similar to Guantanamo Bay. This administration and its predecessors have built a drone program that is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”


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    Response to Demeter (Original post)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 08:22 AM

    30. 'Rich Dad Poor Dad' author: Why millennials shouldn’t save



    The author of financial best-seller "Rich Dad Poor Dad" has some unusual advice for millennials in his new book: Saving is for losers.

    "You cannot follow your parents' rules of money," said Robert Kiyosaki, who this year published a fresh tome, Second Chance: For Your Money, Your Life and Our World. "The old rules were you go to school, you get a job, you work hard, you save money and you invest for the long term in the stock market."

    But now, he says, the rules are now reversed.

    "Savers are losers. And many parents are still telling their kids to save money," he told CNBC. "Why would you save money when every central bank is printing money?"

    Indeed, Kiyosaki said he isn't saving money. "When I was a millennial, I could get 15 percent interest on my money. Today, I'm lucky to get one percent," he said. "I'm a debtor. I borrow because I'm in real estate. So I'm getting money at 2.5 percent. I just recently refinanced $300 million at 2.5 percent. So debtors are winning and savers are losing."

    That's likely not an interest rate available to the average homebuyer: Last week, the average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a balance of $417,000 or less was at 4.18 percent. To be sure, the assumptions underlying Kiyosaki's advice may leave some scratching their heads. For one, he calls "global growth" an oxymoron, claiming that "the whole world economy is on a downslope" and is contracting. That would be news to economists. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) this month cut its global growth forecast to 2.9 percent this year on slowing emerging market growth, particularly China. But that's not a contraction. The OECD also expects gradual strengthening of global growth in 2016 and 2017 to 3.3 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.

    Kiyosaki also claims that "the rich are getting poorer now -- not that anybody cries for them."

    That runs counter to many studies indicating the rich aren't just getting richer, their ranks are growing. The Global Wealth report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), released in June, found that the number of millionaires in the world grew to 17 million in 2014, up from 15 million in 2013. The world's millionaires now control 41 percent of the $164 trillion in global private wealth, up from 40 percent in 2013 and millionaires are expected to control 46 percent of the world's wealth in 2019, the report said.


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    Response to Demeter (Original post)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 08:24 AM

    31. A Christmas Present to Wall Street Could Shut Down the Government



    Add attempts to roll back Wall Street reform to the list of things that might cause a government shutdown next month, when Congress comes to grips with the need to pass an omnibus government spending bill before a December 11 deadline.

    Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday wrote an op-ed for Bloomberg View in which he said that he would advise the president to veto any spending bill that included significant rollbacks to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law that was passed in 2010, following the financial crisis that helped tip the country into the Great Recession.

    “Wall Street reform is working,” Lew wrote. “Seven years after the financial crisis, and five years after Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the economy is back on solid footing. Our financial system is better prepared to cover the cost of any future crisis. Unemployment is at the lowest level since before April 2008, and businesses have added 13.5 million new jobs over 68 straight months, the longest job creation streak on record. We cannot squander this progress by eliminating the safeguards Congress created to protect the American people from another damaging financial crisis.

    “Preserving these achievements is of paramount importance, and as I have previously indicated, I would recommend the president veto legislation passed by Congress that would leave the American people more vulnerable to another financial crisis.”

    Members of Congress, particularly Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, have been pushing legislation that would roll back some of the provisions of Dodd-Frank. For example, the law requires that banks with $50 billion of assets or more be subject to increased regulatory supervision. Shelby would like to see that threshold doubled to $100 billion, which would remove some large regional banks, such as Buffalo’s M&T Bank and Cleveland’s Keycorp, from the list. The financial services industry is also looking to scuttle rules being written by the Department of Labor specifying that financial advisers helping individuals prepare for retirement have a “fiduciary duty” to their clients. Essentially, this means that an adviser working for a large financial services company could not recommend that company’s products if competitors offered a product that better suited their needs.

    Other members of Congress, from both parties, have called on the administration to loosen the rules applied to community banks, which face many of the same regulatory requirements as large money-center banks but don’t have the manpower or the money to comply with them. There are numerous other elements of the Dodd-Frank Act that Republicans in Congress would like to see changed. The law created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is widely hated in the financial services industry, and the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which many see as an unnecessary further layer of bureaucracy on an already heavily-regulated system.

    But through Lew, the administration appears to be signaling that it will not accept major changes to the law which, Lew wrote, “has made our financial system stronger, safer and more resilient.”

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    Response to Demeter (Original post)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 08:41 AM

    32. TPP Financial Stability Threats Unveiled: It’s Worse than We Thought



    Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch has carefully analyzed the Financial Services Chapter of the recently released Trans-Pacific Partnership. One story that has not been told about the TPP is how this first U.S. trade agreement negotiated since the global financial crisis would impose the same model of financial deregulation that is widely understood to have fueled the crisis.

    For the first time in any U.S. trade agreement, the TPP empowers some of the world’s largest financial firms to challenge U.S. financial regulatory policies in extrajudicial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals using the broadest “minimum standard of treatment” claim.

    And, the TPP would be the first U.S. pact to empower some of the world’s largest financial firms to launch ISDS claims against U.S. financial policies. Now none of the world’s 30 largest banks may bypass domestic courts, go before extrajudicial investor-state tribunals of three private lawyers, and demand taxpayer compensation for U.S. financial policies. Among the top banks in TPP countries that could newly do so: Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho, ANZ, Commonwealth Australia, West Pac, National Australia Bank, Bank of Tokyo, Sumutomo, Royal Bank of Canada.

    Despite the pivotal role that new financial products, such as toxic derivatives, played in the financial crisis, the TPP would require all TPP countries to allow new financial products and services to enter their economies if permitted in any other TPP countries...


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    Response to Demeter (Original post)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 08:59 AM

    33. Hello, everyone! My mom can't come to the phone right now


    She's been locked out of her account by the politically correct. She's wants me to say it's been nice knowing you, and this way she will get a lot more housework done...if the moderators prove to be immoderate after all.

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    Response to Proserpina (Reply #33)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 10:15 AM

    34. Sounds like somebody got Phooled.

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    Response to Fuddnik (Reply #34)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 10:16 AM

    35. More like stalked


    It was only a matter of time. Mom says Hi Doc!

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    Response to Proserpina (Reply #35)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 10:18 AM

    36. Tell Mom we love her.

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    Response to Fuddnik (Reply #36)

    Sun Nov 29, 2015, 07:36 PM

    51. I did; she loves you, too! All of you!


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    Response to Proserpina (Reply #33)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 11:21 AM

    37. Who is your mom??? n/t

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    Response to Hotler (Reply #37)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 11:33 AM

    38. google is your friend


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    Response to Hotler (Reply #37)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 01:05 PM

    39. Well shit...

    Demeter's Profile
    Profile information
    Gender: Female
    Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Home country: USA
    About Demeter

    Statistics and Information

    Account status: Flagged for review
    Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2003, 09:04 PM
    Number of posts: 85,373
    Number of posts, last 90 days: 3040
    Favorite forum: Latest Breaking News, 274 posts in the last 90 days (9% of total posts)
    Favorite group: Economy, 1584 posts in the last 90 days (52% of total posts)
    Last post: Sat Nov 28, 2015, 03:41 PM

    Willing to serve on Juries: Yes
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    Demeter is not currently hosting any forums or groups.

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    Response to MattSh (Reply #39)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 03:24 PM

    40. Not to worry


    If the Heathers drive enough people off this site, the Administrators will have to either fold their tents or stop the terrorists. Based on previous performance, I predict DU will collapse before the Euro...

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    Response to Proserpina (Reply #40)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 07:42 PM

    46. "If the Heathers"...........

    Again, sweet! The Heathers from Jones Town. I like it.
    Tell mom to take care.

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    Response to Proserpina (Reply #33)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 03:30 PM

    41. Your mom? Uh-huh


    2 posts hidden in this thread http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141273117

    The flag will be lifted Monday, unless you're...

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    Response to pintobean (Reply #41)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 03:31 PM

    42. Are you insulting my mother?


    It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature...

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    Response to Proserpina (Reply #42)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 05:05 PM

    43. Say hi to Mom!

    Hoping she is doing well and not keeping her opinions to herself!
    Send our love.

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    Response to hamerfan (Reply #43)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 05:35 PM

    44. LOL!


    We went to the thrift store...Sis got more video tapes and mittens, I got a matching hat and gloves in my favorite shade of blue, and Mom bought more warm-weather clothes for work. She really needs a life. Preferably indoors. She's got new tires, though and a tie rod and alignment, so there probably won't be another flake of snow all winter...

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    Response to Proserpina (Reply #44)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 09:12 PM

    47. Mom shouldn't shop at the Jonestown Mall.

    The pickings are pretty easy, but you might get mugged.

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    Response to Fuddnik (Reply #47)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 09:26 PM

    48. Like she listens to me


    and besides, that was LBN

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    Response to pintobean (Reply #41)

    Sun Nov 29, 2015, 01:46 AM

    49. Meh, doesn't matter.

    I often find the hidden posts more revealing than the ones that don't ruffle anyone's feathers.

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    Response to Demeter (Original post)

    Sat Nov 28, 2015, 07:33 PM

    45. Demeter, that's fucking awesome!........

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    Response to Hotler (Reply #45)

    Sun Nov 29, 2015, 07:35 PM

    50. Are you referring to the posts they blocked?


    I'll tell her of your admiration....

    (You know, Mom could use some appreciative male companionship...she might not call me so much, especially while I'm sleeping...)

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    Response to Proserpina (Reply #50)

    Mon Nov 30, 2015, 08:20 AM

    52. Yes and also in general terms.

    If I didn't live across the country I'd be there to buy her a refreshing beverage.

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